Black Coffee Benefits Do Not Stop at Energy: Great for Memory, Heart and More

Coffee has benefits whether you drink it black or with cream and sugar. Among the many other benefits of coffee, drinking it black may help you lose weight and lower the risk of disease.

black coffee benefits

Black coffee has practically no calories, no fat, and no cholesterol, making it a good addition to any diet.

© Ivan Pantic | Getty Images

You may be tired of reading that we need more studies before we can say that this supplement or that nutrient is good for certain health benefits. That is not the case with coffee. There have been lots of studies and there is little doubt that coffee is good for you. Some benefits come from the caffeine and some from the antioxidants in coffee. They are there whether you drink it black or with cream and sugar.

Black Coffee Calories & Diet Benefits

The big advantage of black coffee is found on the nutrition label. It has no fat, no cholesterol, and almost no calories, only about one calorie in 100 grams. “Adding coffee to your intermittent diet can be very beneficial as it decreases the urge of food consumption, but make sure the coffee is black,” says Mark A Zager, MD at “Coffee increases the benefits of fasting along with enhanced brain function, reduces inflammation and heart risks. But the addition of high-calorie additives like milk or sugar can disrupt intermittent fasting.”

Black coffee isn’t just a great addition to an intermittent fasting diet, but its low calorie count makes it a good addition to most diets. Adding cream, sugar, or syrup can turn coffee into a high calorie drink.  According to Consumer Reports, two cups of coffee with cream and sugar adds 300 calories and 24 grams of fat. Those calories can add up quickly if you are a frequent coffee drinker. You may add one pound of body fat from 3,500 calories.

The Health Benefits of Black Coffee

Studies on the benefits of caffeine show it to be a natural stimulant. That’s why people drink coffee in the morning to get a boost for the day, or in the afternoon for a pick-me-up. Studies show it also improves memory, mood, reaction time, and other mental functioning.

The long-term health benefits of coffee come from its antioxidants. Antioxidants protect the cells of your body from damage called oxidation. In fact, according to the Cleveland Clinic, coffee is the highest source of antioxidants in the average American diet.

“Coffee is one of the greatest sources of antioxidants. These include vitamins B2, B3 and B5, potassium, magnesium and manganese. Your body absorbs more of these nutrients from coffee than other sources of antioxidants including fruits and vegetables,” says Amber O’Brien, medical doctor at Mango Clinic.

Black Coffee and Heart Health

Coffee also provides great benefits to cardiovascular health. “Regular coffee intake is also associated with lower risks for cardiovascular (CV) death and a variety of adverse CV outcomes, including coronary heart disease (CHD), congestive heart failure (HF), and stroke; coffee’s effects on arrhythmias and hypertension are neutral,” says Dr. Rashmi Byakodi from Best for Nutrition. This is because coffee can bring improvements to cardiovascular disease risk factors, like depression and obesity.

Black Coffee and Diabetes

“Caffeine has the potential of increasing insulin sensitivity to glucose and decreasing the likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes by six percent for each cup per day of coffee. Last but not least, chlorogenic acids, found in coffee, have been found to improve mood, reduce negative thinking and increase focus,” says Lizz Kinyua, MD, Medical Consultant at Oh So Spotless.

There are some other benefits. Drinking coffee may reduce your risk for:

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Liver disease
  • Cancer

Side Effects of Caffeine

Caffeine speeds up your heart and raises your blood pressure for a while. Too much caffeine may make you feel anxious and shaky. Because caffeine makes you urinate more, you can get dehydrated if you don’t drink other fluids. The daily recommended safe dose of caffeine is 400 milligrams, which is about four cups of caffeinated coffee per day. For pregnant women, the limit is 200 milligrams. Finally, avoid trouble sleeping by limiting caffeine consumption to early in the day.

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Chris Iliades, MD

Dr. Chris Iliades is board-certified in Ear, Nose and Throat and Head and Neck Surgery from the American Board of Otolaryngology and Head and Neck Surgery. He holds a medical … Read More

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